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story.lead_photo.caption Pingdi Village in southwestern China’s Guizhou Province sits devastated by a landslide Wednesday.

Death toll at 14 after 2 China landslides

BEIJING -- At least 14 people have died in two landslides in southwestern China, and rescuers were looking for 42 others who were missing, Chinese state media reported Wednesday.

A landslide Tuesday night buried 21 houses and caused at least 13 deaths in Guizhou province's Shuicheng county, said state broadcaster China Central Television.

Eleven people were rescued and sent to the hospital while another 42 remained missing. Heavy rainfall is believed to be the main cause of the landslides, the broadcaster said.

More than 800 rescuers were scouring the area, where continuous rainfall and the mountain's steep slopes have hampered search efforts.

One person died and six others were unaccounted for after an earlier landslide hit a village in Hezhang county in Guizhou on Tuesday afternoon. The landslide happened at a highway construction site, the Xinhua state news agency reported.

Mexico to open asylum-seeker shelter

MEXICO CITY -- Mexican officials said Wednesday that they are set to open a huge shelter in the border city of Tijuana to hold thousands of migrants being returned to await hearings on their U.S. asylum requests.

Mexico has accepted over 20,000 Central Americans under the plan known as "migrant protection protocol" or "Remain in Mexico."

But Mexico has struggled with how to house them as they wait, in many cases, for months to attend U.S. hearings.

The federal liaison for Baja California state said the new shelter can hold as many as 4,000 people. Alejandro Ruiz said the site is set to open next week.

N. Korea fires 2 short-range missiles

SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korea fired two short-range missiles off its east coast early today amid stalled efforts to resume talks on ending the country's nuclear weapons program, the South Korean military said.

The first short-range missile, launched from near Wonsan, a coastal town east of Pyongyang, flew 267 miles, reaching a height of 31 miles before landing in waters between North Korea and Japan, South Korean defense officials said. The second missile appears to have flown farther, the officials said, citing analytical data from U.S. officials.

The officials said both missiles were fired from mobile launch vehicles, but more analysis was needed to determine the type of missiles. A United Nations resolution bans North Korea from building or testing ballistic missiles.

The launches were the first such tests since President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met June 30 in the Demilitarized Zone.

The previous tests were held May 9, when North Korea launched what military experts called short-range ballistic missiles.

Separately, South Korean officials said Wednesday that two South Koreans and 15 Russians have been held in North Korea for a week after their boat drifted into North Korean waters.

The crew members were aboard a Russia-flagged fishing boat when it was detained by North Korea on July 17, South Korea's Unification Ministry said in a statement.

Australia sentences 3 for mosque fire

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Three Sunni Muslim men were sentenced on Wednesday to prison terms of between 16 and 22 years on convictions for crimes that include engaging in a terror act by burning down a Shiite mosque in the Australian city of Melbourne three years ago.

A Victoria state Supreme Court jury convicted Abdullah Chaarani, 28; Ahmed Mohamed, 26; and Hatim Moukhaiber, 31, in May over the firebombing of the Imam Ali Islamic Center in December 2016. No one was injured.

Mohamed and Moukhaiber had both denied any involvement. Chaarani admitted his role but argued he had been part of an act of protest, advocacy or dissent -- not terrorism. They each faced a potential sentence of life in prison.

Chaarani and Mohamed were also found guilty of attempting to commit a terror act over a failed attempt to burn the mosque down two weeks earlier.

The words "Islamic State" were also spray-painted on the exterior of the building.

Mohamed and Chaarani had previously been convicted of planning a terrorist attack on central Melbourne locations including the Federation Square restaurant and nightclub precinct, St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral and Flinders Street train station on Christmas Day in 2016.

The latest trial heard evidence that after the first failed attempt to destroy the mosque, Mohamed and Chaarani returned with Moukhaiber in December with a 5.3-gallon container of gasoline and two car tires to keep the blaze going.

Their goal was to "strike a blow against, and terrorize, Shiite Muslims," Justice Andrew Tinney said Wednesday as he sentenced the three for their "callous, cowardly and vindictive" crimes.

A Section on 07/25/2019

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